BAGHDAD — Insurgents in Iraq launched two days of bloody assaults at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and killed at least 31 people, most of them members of the security forces serving in restive Sunni-dominated areas, authorities said Thursday.
The killings are the latest in a wave of bloodshed that has claimed the lives of more than 2,600 people since April. The months-long eruption of violence — Iraq’s worst in half a decade — is raising fears the country is again returning to the brink of a civil war between its Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim sects.
The deadliest attack happened at sundown Wednesday. Gunmen launched an assault on an army checkpoint near Barwana, about 140 miles northwest of Baghdad in the largely Sunni province of Anbar. Barwana’s mayor, Meyasser Abdul-Mohsin, said three soldiers were killed and four were wounded in that attack.
The attackers then shot up a trailer used by special oil industry police assigned to protect a nearby pipeline and set it on fire before making their getaway, the mayor said. Eleven police officers were killed.
Insurgents unleashed more attacks Thursday, including the explosion of a car bomb that wounded seven civilians in a village outside the ethnically disputed city of Kirkuk, about 150 miles north of Baghdad, an official said.